FLORENCE — The Laurel Dodgers and Vauxhall Spurs are set to meet in the undefeated semifinal Monday at the Montana-Alberta Class A American Legion baseball tournament.
Laurel withstood a furious Gallatin Valley Outlaws comeback to win its game, 9-7, and advance on Sunday.
Vauxhall claimed a 6-0 lead in the second inning on its way to a 7-2 victory over the Mission Valley Mariners.
In loser-out contests, the Dillon Cubs downed the Miles City Mavericks 12-3 and the Bitterroot Bucs beat the Lewistown Red Birds 14-4.
The Dodgers led the Outlaws 7-1 in the top of the sixth and had recorded two outs. However, Gallatin Valley was able to rally behind a double, two errors and a couple more hits to score six runs and knot the score at 7-7.
Laurel answered in the sixth with two runs to earn the victory. Colton Ludwig drew a walk to start the inning and Deklan Harper singled. Ludwig would later score on a sacrifice bunt and Harper crossed the plate as the result of a squeeze play.
Laurel coach Doug Studiner was proud of the resilience his team displayed.
"That's what we talked about after the game, a lot of teams would have lied down right there," he said.
"We showed some good character there and they battled," Studiner continued. "It's not easy to try and win a state championship. This is what it takes. You have to have kids put mistakes behind them and move forward. I couldn't be more proud of the heart and character they showed."
Harper finished 3 for 4 at the plate with two runs and two RBIs. Carson West was 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Overall, Laurel slugged four doubles — including two by Harper. Keagan Campbell laced a triple.
Harper earned the win, pitching the final 1 1/3 innings with three strikeouts. He allowed one hit and a walk.
Michael Nehring was 3 for 4 for the Outlaws with a run and an RBI. Michael Jones was 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI. Nehring and Jones each doubled.
Aaron Vulcano earned the win for Vauxhall, pitching seven innings and giving up two runs on two hits. He fanned three. The Mariners were led by Trevor Lake, who had a two-base hit and one RBI.
The Cubs pounded out 13 hits in their win over the Mavericks. Overall, eight different Dillon players recorded hits.
For Miles City, Jess Bellows batted 3 for 4, including a double, with a run and two RBIs. Jack Cline was 2 for 4 for the Mavericks.
Studiner said Connor Polkowske, who batted 2 for 4 against the Outlaws with two runs and an RBI, would pitch for the Dodgers against the Spurs. The first pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Studiner said Vauxhall is a "solid ball club" and was the North District regular-season and tournament champions.
"They do the little things right and are well coached," he said, adding the Dodgers and Spurs have not met this season. "They are a good ball club. We have to come out and play good tomorrow."